SEATTLE and REDMOND, Wash., April 11, 2001 — Seattle Symphony and Microsoft Corp. today announced the opening day of an interactive learning center that uses Microsoft® Windows Media™
Technologies to help visitors explore and learn about symphonic music through a broad range of hands-on exhibits. Soundbridge Seattle Symphony Music Discovery Center, which opens to the public on April 17, will serve as a hub for the Symphony’s education and community programs. Soundbridge combines the Symphony’s music and educational resources with Microsoft’s technology and corporate support to create a unique educational experience. Its mission is to inspire and nurture a love of symphonic music through active participation, exploration and creation.
Designed for people of all ages and levels of musical experience, Soundbridge uses Microsoft technologies to bring the orchestra and symphonic music to life through playful, yet powerful, hands-on kiosks and interactive exhibits. The discovery center is located on the street level of Benaroya Hall at Second Avenue and Union Street in downtown Seattle.
“This is a thrilling day for Seattle Symphony as we embark on a new and innovative outreach for symphonic music,”
said Deborah R. Card, executive director of Seattle Symphony.
“We are grateful to Microsoft and our technology and exhibit partners for enabling us to extend the depth and reach necessary to make this a truly interactive educational experience.”
Soundbridge represents the final build-out of Benaroya Hall and the Symphony’s first efforts to reach audiences with digital media technology in this unique way. Microsoft’s involvement began with individual employees donating their personal time to help plan and oversee the project and included software contributions from Microsoft Community Affairs.
“Soundbridge shows what can happen when talented people put technology to work in the service of great music,”
said Bob Herbold, executive vice president of Microsoft and a Seattle Symphony board member.
“These interactive exhibits, with their crystal-clear audio and video displays, will bring new fans to symphonic music and give current fans a deeper understanding of the music-making process.”
The 2,000-square-foot Soundbridge Seattle Symphony Music Discovery Center consists of a workshop and performance space and an exhibit space that uses technology to encourage individual inquiry. Soundbridge visitors, either independently or as a group, can explore exhibits to increase music skill-building techniques and expand their understanding of the symphonic repertoire and musical terms. The workshop and performance space will be used for music classes, including Musikgarten® Early Childhood Music Education classes, workshops, musical storytelling sessions, lectures, demonstrations and informal student group recitals. Because all content aligns with the Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements for Arts Education, Soundbridge will also serve as a resource center for classroom teachers.
The exhibit space offers a variety of kiosks and listening posts. Interactive exhibits use touch-screen displays and high-quality streaming media to make hundreds of hours of symphonic music and videos available to visitors. Attendees can experience the thrill of conducting Seattle Symphony in front of a wraparound screen, delve into the histories and characteristics of the various orchestral instruments, and hear conductors and musicians talk about their work. A five-station listening bar features more than 500 symphonic recordings, including music from Seattle Symphony’s current and upcoming seasons.
The interactive exhibits are built entirely on Microsoft technologies, including Windows Media streaming technology, Internet Explorer and Windows® 2000 Server. Streaming media makes it possible for Soundbridge to deliver high-quality audio on demand from a central server to the kiosks and listening posts. Because of the advanced compression Windows Media provides, the Symphony can store thousands of hours of CD-quality music and deliver it easily over its internal network.
The technology behind the Soundbridge experience also was designed with an eye toward possible expansion onto the Internet. Plans about this phase of the project will be announced as they develop. The same infrastructure that powers the on-site exhibits can accommodate a variety of Internet distribution options, including members-only services, free public content and digital commerce. Other technology-related companies involved in the project include Accenture, Corbis Corp., Electric Lightwave Inc., Elumens Corp., Loudeye Technologies, MagicHour Films Inc. and Rolling Orange Inc. Soundbridge was designed by Lehrman Cameron Studio, Seattle. Exhibit partners include Mills Music, Yamaha Corp. and Selmer Corp., which are providing Soundbridge with musical equipment for the Learning Center, Sherman Clay and The Good Guys Inc!.
Soundbridge will be open six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and closed on Mondays. Daily admission for individual visitors will be $7 for adults and $5 for children (children 3 years of age and under will be admitted free). Annual memberships, entitling the cardholder to unlimited visits, are available at $20 for individuals, $40 for families (all members of one household), $50 for schools (classes within a member school) and $100 for corporations.
Currently, Seattle Symphony has raised over $4 million of its $6.4 million goal for Soundbridge construction and for the creation of an endowment fund that will provide continued support for its operation.
About Seattle Symphony
Seattle Symphony was founded in 1903 and is the oldest and largest cultural institution in the Pacific Northwest. Recognized for its daring programming and its tradition of performing music by 20th-century composers under the leadership of Maestro Gerard Schwarz, the Symphony is one of the world’s most-recorded orchestras, represented on more than 75 compact discs. More information about Seattle Symphony can be found at http://www.seattlesymphony.org/ .
Benaroya Hall, home of Seattle Symphony, is located in downtown Seattle between Second and Third avenues and Union and University streets. The 2,500-seat S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium and the 540-seat Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall in Benaroya Hall are easily accessible by public transportation. A 430-space parking garage, accessible from Second Avenue, is housed within Benaroya Hall.
About Windows Media
Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, providing unmatched audio and video quality to consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations. Windows Media offers the industry’s only integrated rights-management solution and the most scalable and reliable streaming technology tested by independent labs. Windows Media Technologies includes Windows Media Player for consumers, Windows Media Services for servers, Windows Media Tools for content creation, and the Windows Media Software Development Kit (SDK) for software developers. Windows Media Player, available in 26 languages, is the fastest-growing media player. More information about Windows Media can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/ .
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.
Microsoft, Windows Media and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
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